MSI Z77A-GD80 Motherboard Review

By on May 29, 2012
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Feature rich, performance filled.

Good: In addition to Thunderbolt there are lots of USB 3.0 and SATA ports along with easy and stable overclocking.
Bad: May seem completely overpriced if you don't have a Thunderbolt drive to use.
Price: AED 1,000
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.


The standard ATX sized motherboard has pretty much all you could ask for in a high-end board of this size. Four DIMM slots, three PCIe slots, big heatsinks and multiple chips to ensure all of your components are powered optimally and ready to go.

Starting from the CPU area we see the two big heatsinks covering the VRMs and the area near the CPU. The two heatsinks are solidly attached and even have a heatpipe between them for further cooling.

Moving to the left we see the rear I/O panel we see the P/S2 port, along with 4x USB 2.0 ports. There are another 2x USB 3.0 ports, but keep in mind that there are an extra 2x USB 3.0 ports available via the bracket. Apart from the 8-channel audio (supported via Realtek ALC898 chip), we have a gigabit LAN port (supported by Intel 82579V chip), and HDMI and VGA port. Last but not least we have a mini-DisplayPort (under VGA) which is, in fact the Thunderbolt port.

The Thunderbolt port, if you don’t use it to connect a monitor, allows for two-way data transfer with a bandwidth capacity of 10Gbps, allowing you to daisy chain up to six devices; and theoretically there should be no drop in bandwidth capacity.

Coming down we see the three PCIe Gen 3.0 x16 slots, however, due to bandwidth limitations of the chipset the last slot will only work if you have an Ivy Bridge processor.

On the right hand side we see the eight SATA ports, four of which (Black colored) are SATA II ports, while the four (in White) are SATA III 6GBps ports. The two SATA III ports on the left are controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chipset, while all the other six ports are controlled via the Z77 chipset. The the rightmost we see the USB 3.0 port which will allow you to hook up the bracket.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

  • Skidmarks

    Surely you mean Z77A-GD65 and not GD55.

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